Fastest way to upload files to Google Drive

What is the fastest way to upload large files to Google Drive?

There are a few different methods of how to upload files to Google Drive, depending on your specific needs and situation. Here are some options:

Google Drive Desktop App
Drive for desktop is Google’s desktop sync client, which allows you to sync files between your computer and your Google Drive account. After installing, you can simply drag and drop the file you want to upload to the Google Drive folder on your computer, and it will automatically sync it to your account. The only drawbacks are, that the tool is not available for Linux and as the files need to be stored temporarily on your hard drive while uploading them, you can’t do so without having the corresponding storage available locally.

Google Drive website
You can also upload large files to Google Drive directly through the website. Simply go to, click the “New” button, and select “File upload.” Then, choose the file you want to upload and wait for it to finish. This works with different operating systems and browser combination and is definitely the most versatile solution. One drawback, in case of an upload interruption (computer or browser crash), there is no possibility to resume automatically.

Third-party tools
There are several third-party tools available that can be used to upload files to Google Drive. Some of them are: Insync, Rclone, Drive, Google Drive Upload Tool or FileZilla Pro

FileZilla is a popular FTP client that allows you to transfer files between your computer and a server. However, the pro version allows you to upload files to Google Drive via the WebDAV protocol. Beside the fact that FileZilla Pro is a paid version, it is not designed for syncing your files with your computer in the same way as the Google Drive desktop app does.

Beside all differences and similarities, how do these approaches stack up against each other in terms of uploading speed?

Test bench

The benchmark below shows the time which was required to upload a total of 60 GB. This was tested in 3 different scenarios with different file sizes (60, 30, 20 GB) to see if parallel uploads would speed up the process.

The test files have been created on Windows with the built-in command-line tool called “fsutil” that can be used to generate large test files:

fsutil file createnew D:\20GB.test 21474836480
fsutil file createnew D:\30GB.test 32212254720
fsutil file createnew D:\60GB.test 64424509440

The following three uploading scenarios have been tested:

  • One single 60 GB file
  • Two 30 GB files
  • Three 20 GB files

When the test involved 2 or 3 files, the upload was performed simultaneously. The Drive for desktop app was doing this automatically, on the web for each file upload an extra Chrome window was opened and in FileZilla Pro the maximum parallel connections were adjusted accordingly.

The test was performed on a Windows 11 system, which was connected to the internet via a 1 Gbit fiber-optic connection.


Upload duration in minutes (lower ist better)

The results are quite clear. The Drive desktop app and FileZilla Pro performed the task by far fastest and the difference to the Drive web approach, with a gap of around 20 %, is significant.

But how do the upload timings translate into upload speed, and what about the bandwidth utilization?

Tool File Split Upload Time MB/s Mb/s
Drive Desktop 3 x 20 GB 9:28 min 105.63 845.00
FileZilla Pro 3 x 20 GB 9:40 min 103.45 827.60
Drive Desktop 2 x 30 GB 9:50 min 101.70 813.60
FileZilla Pro 2 x 30 GB 10:51 min 92.17 737.30
Drive Web 3 x 20 GB 11:44 min 85.23 681.80
Drive Web 2 x 30 GB 13:16 min 75.38 603.00
Drive Desktop 1 x 60 GB 14:25 min 69.36 554.90
FileZilla Pro 1 x 60 GB 18:57 min 52.77 422.20
Drive Web 1 x 60 GB 22:13 min 45.01 360.10
Upload speed comparison

As we can see, the fastest upload with the Drive desktop app topped out at 845 Mb/s (105.63 MB/s). Considering that 940 Mb/s (117.50 MB/s) of the theoretical 1 Gbit connection are available in everyday usage, none of the above approaches utilized the full bandwidth or was bottle necked by it.

It is worth mentioning, however, that a parallel upload is definitely advantageous, as the slowest result in each scenario, was always achieved when uploading only one big file. It looks like when using only one upload stream, the speed will be between 45 – 70 MB/s. When using multiple streams, this value will decrease, but the overall throughput increases.

Streams Throughput in MB/s Bandwidth
Utilization in %
per Stream Total
3 35.21 105.63 89.90
2 50.85 101.70 86.55
1 69.36 69.36 59.03
Drive Desktop app speed comparison by streams

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Drive desktop app for me personally is the limitation that files must be cached locally before being uploaded.

Since I use Google Drive primarily for storing backups and my backup files are each between 500 – 700 GB in size, this storage space needs to be available first.

Overall, the best method for uploading large files to Google Drive quickly will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

asterix Written by:

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *